Even Iowa Fans Were Impressed with Penn State's Effort this Past Weekend
It's hard not to be gushing about our Nittany Lions after Saturday's boot stomping of Iowa. But of all the things that can be said by us...it's far sweeter to let the Iowa fans do the talking.
Granted, this is just Iowa, and as a program, we don't want to set our expectations on a team that historically has had average-to-good results. We want to be shooting for a great-to-elite program standard.
But considering where we were as a team, where we thought we'd be as a team, and where we are as a team, hearing the jealousy and longing in the Hawkeye fan base is sweet, sweet music.
Read the whole article here, but check out the highlights below [after the jump].
This weekend, Iowa played a program that has a new coach -- also from the offensive staff at New England -- with a former walk on at quarterback running a completely new offensive system. Penn State has no discernible talent advantage over Iowa on offense; the average Rivals star rating of their eleven offensive starters was less than 0.1 stars higher than Iowa's, and their quarterback earned a zero-star rating. They were no more experienced than Iowa; in fact, Penn State actually started one more underclassman than the Hawkeyes. Their task this season was more monumental than Iowa's, as they overhauled an entire system with a completely new offensive coaching staff on a lower scholarship limit while losing their best offensive player and a half-dozen other contributors just weeks before the season started. If you were to look at these two teams on paper, it was Penn State, not Iowa, who should be struggling to find their footing with a new offense after seven weeks.
The most depressing part of Saturday night, then, was that Penn State was exponentially sharper than Iowa on offense. They ran Bill O'Brien's New England import flawlessly, with Matt McGloin looking like a collegiate Tom Brady. Their line, forever an Achilles heel under Paterno, held up against an Iowa blitz package that it could not have possibly anticipated, run again and again without ever getting home. McGloin had all the time in the world to find wide open receivers, and he repeatedly hit them precisely where they needed to get the ball. Penn State's tight ends -- a two-star defensive end recruit, a two-star freshman whose only other offers were from Bucknell and Delaware, and an unheralded true freshman they plucked locally -- annihilated the Iowa defensive backfield, running past linebackers and jumping over safeties like the guys Brian Ferentz was coaching last year. And, after every completion, Penn State was on the ball and running past Iowa again before the Hawkeyes could get into a three-point stance. It wasn't a spread. It wasn't a gimmick. It was true modern pro style offense, run with ruthless efficiency by a group of guys who, twelve months ago, were running the only Big Ten offense stodgier than Iowa's.
It makes you giddy when you think what O'Brien might be able to do with a roster of blue chip players and years of head coaching experience under his belt. Go Lions and beat the Buckeyes!
Ryan Murphy offers his "Midweek Serenity" each week on the NLD. Check out his new book, Ring The Bell: The Twenty-two Greatest Penn State Football Victories of Our LIves, on ebook or paperback.